There’s a particular kind of statement unique to the candidacy of Phil Scott, which has attempted to combine budgetary discipline with expressions of concern for the problems faced by “hardworking Vermonters” (copyright pending).
That effort to square two circles has resulted in a phenomenon I call “Philpuckey” after the great Rachel Maddow’s use of “bullpuckey” when she doesn’t want to say the S-word on the teevee.
You can tell when you’re about to receive a load of Philpuckey. His voice slows down a beat, his face gets that open-and-honest look designed to soften the hard edges of Republicanism, and he expresses concern for suffering Vermonters and how we must help them. His voice has a painstaking tone, as if he’s explaining an abstract idea to a preschooler.
There is, of course, a big fat “but” in the offing. As in, “But my first concern is the affordability crisis.”
He may be earnestly concerned, but won’t spend a single dime to address it. He’ll just suffer his concern — for our sake.
It’s kind of like seeing a begger on the street, pausing in front of him, shaking his hand, wishing him all the best, and walking on without putting anything in the hat. Noble sentiment, unsupported by action.
We’ve seen this over and over, with issues like opioid addiction, affordable housing, infrastructure, health care, primary and secondary education, and my favorite, “Buy Local.” Which will be addressed in a forthcoming post.
On opioids, for instance, Scott has called for “expansion of treatment options,” per VTDigger, but given his plan to clamp down on any and all budget increases, it’s hard to see where the money would come from. (He also wants to add a new bureaucrat — “a senior-level director of drug abuse prevention policy”, which kinda sounds like Drug Czar, and we all know how well that’s worked at the federal level.
On housing, Scott would depend on the free market — which has never been inclined to build affordable housing in the past — to address a problem his administration would’t be able to address with public funds. Because the budget and affordability, you know. On this issue, it’s a combination of Philpuckey and one of the other cornerstones of his agenda: tax credits. Which, as I’ve noted before, are a marginally successful waste of revenue at best.
On the punishingly high cost of college tuition, Minter has crafted a plan to offer two years of college tuition-free. Scott, says the Burlington Free Press, “is hesitant to introduce new programs.”
Gee, Phil, we appreciate your empty concern.
It’s a kid glove on the iron fist, a smileyface mask on a drill sergeant. It’s potato chips with Olestra, the miracle fat substitute that let you enjoy the crispy, salty goodness without consequence. Until, that is, the abdominal cramps and anal leakage set in.
It’s Philpuckey, the content-free policy substitute from your friends at Team Scott. Possibly available for a limited time only, subject to recall on November 9.